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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nelson Promises More Web Info from Washington

I've previously praised Secretary of State Chris Nelson for putting the Web to good use in providing voters with useful information. Y'all seem to agree: the SDSOS candidate list is one of the more frequently clicked exit links from this blog. Now candidate Nelson wants to take that technowonkery to Washington. As Bob Mercer noted last week, Nelson has offered a "Plan to Restore Faith in Washington."

Now if that were Gordon Howie writing, Restoring Faith would mean not expelling God from the Capitol. But that's a different race... and this is Chris Nelson. Among his proposals for good government:
  • Publish on office website a listing of all meetings with lobbyists (including all staff member meetings with lobbyists).
  • Publish on office website in advance a listing of all official travel of Rep. Nelson and staff.
  • Publish on website a weekly listing of all public events and meetings attended by Rep. Nelson.
  • Conduct at least one open town hall public meeting per month. Locations would move throughout South Dakota
  • Release South Dakota citizen office phone call tallies on major legislation.
  • Staff will be given direction to place the highest emphasis on troubleshooting constituent problems with federal agencies.
Nelson sounds so much better when he's not saying silly things. These innocuous proposals play to his strengths. His Web suggestions and constituent service proposals are natural extensions of his work as Secretary of State. They also play to the disgruntlement he knows is out there with the incumbent, who Republicans and even some Democrats complain has not been accessible as they'd like their Representative to be.

The proposals sound pretty white-bread... but roll with it, Chris: you know that's the candidate you want to be. You know deep down you aren't a Teabagger. You know you don't want to shout "Nullification!" to the Calhoun conservatives at the 9-12 meetings, where you and Jerry Prostrollo may be the only rational pragmatists in the room. You know the politics of Kitty Werthmann and Nancy First are a dead end. You know South Dakotans need competent civil service, not the grandstanding and Revolutionary War re-eneactments your opponents favor.

And you know that's why you're ahead of Noem and Curd, and why you're tied with SHS in the polls. You won't beat her with partisan wingnuttery (Chris Lien? Bruce Whalen?). You'll beat her with nice... and cool Web ideas. Don't give in to the Dark Side, Chris! Stay sane, stay center.

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